Slovaks will choose a new head of state in the direct presidential election, the fourth since its introduction in 1999, from among the record number of 14 candidates in the first election round March 15. The two most promising candidates are the incumbent Prime Minister and Smer-Social Democracy Chairman Robert Fico, and entrepreneur Andrej Kiska (unaffiliated). It is expected that none of the candidates will be elected in the first round. To be elected, the candidate would have to be supported by an absolute majority of all eligible voters, including those who do not take part in the election. The new head of state, who will replace outgoing President Ivan Gašparovič, will probably emerge from the second election round March 29, in which the first round’s two most successful candidates will clash. According to public opinion polls, the election favorite is Fico, the country’s most popular politician, who might gain about 35 percent of the vote in the first round.
His main rival, entrepreneur and philanthropist Kiska, has narrowed Fico’s lead recently, and he is supported by about 25 percent of voters.
The other candidates are lagging behind these two. Actor Milan Kňažko and lawmaker Radoslav Procházka would gain about 10 percent of the vote each, according to public opinion polls. They would be trailed by Christian Democrat (KDH) lawmaker Pavol Hrušovský, a joint candidate of the center-right opposition, the surveys indicate.
Fico’s possible victory in the first round does not make him sure of becoming president.
The four strongest rival candidates — Kiska, Procházka, Kňažko and Hrušovský — recently promised to support each other against Fico ahead of the second round of the election.